Friday, 8 July 2016

Underrated Portuguese wine

A lot of Macanese favourites, such as ‘Portuguese’ egg tart, pock chop bun, almond biscuit, dried beef, to name a few, are so popular among Hong Kong consumers that they are now readily available in Hong Kong. However, somehow we don’t quite share our neighbour’s love for Portuguese wine. Portugal is small but has a diverse climate and a wide variety of indigenous grapes, resulting in a myriad wine styles. To me, Italy and Portugal are very similar in terms of the range of climate, grape varieties, wine style, and also their fates in Hong Kong markets - both are overshadowed by their neighbours.

Probably because I worked in Portugal therefore I have a soft spot (yes, another one) for Portuguese wine. I like their honesty and rusticity - but don’t take this as cheap and cheerful or not worth ageing. Their top wine is concentrated and deep yet not posh. Recently I had a chance to taste a good range of Portuguese wine at Adega Royale portfolio tasting, and it felt good. The ones that particular stood out were:

Quinta da Calçada Exuberant Branco 2013 and Edicao Reserva Branco 2013: A blend of Alvarinho, Loureiro and Arinto, all indigenous grapes from the region of Vinho Verde. Both are elegant with persistent mineral finishes. A lot could be contributed to the age of the vines - the quinta holds some of the oldest vineyard in the region dating back to 1917 and the soil.

Solar dos Lobos (Mansion of the wolves in Portuguese) for its creativity of the labels. It literally put the technical sheet and tasting notes in cartoon form on the front label. Granted, the wines are not for the most discerning palates but they are made-well and the refreshing labels are humorous and welcoming to timid wine consumers, a big market that unfortunately most of the trade tend to overlook.

Quinta de Saes Reserva Estagio Prolongado Tinto 2012: A field blends of 28 varieties in from Dão, multilayer fruits, elegant with long finish.

Quinta do Fojo 1999: I would love to make wine like Margarida Serôdio Borges - making wine for fun without commercial pressure. She still makes wine in the style of her grandfather, fermenting in largares.

Quinta da Plansel Tinta Barroca Tinto 2013 and Touriga Franca Tinto 2013: I have tasted Dorina’s wine last year and they are delicious.

Luis Pato Vinhas Velhas Branco 2013: One of the best ‘entry level’ white wine.

A few years ago, I used to go to Macau to stock up Portuguese wine and luckily I don’t need to do anymore. Still it would be great to see more of them here in Hong Kong.

Thanks Haigan from Adega Royale for being a believer of Portuguese wine.

1 comment: